The most thankless job in the world.

Once a week, as I’m scrubbing the shower grout with a special brush specifically for grout (being neurotic as I am I found a grout brush), I wonder if anyone notices what I’m doing, or cares. If I was gone, would the shower just mildew and get moldy? Would anyone notice and then decide to clean it? And if they did try to clean it, would they know that only bleach could remove the mold? And that if they let it go without cleaning for more than a few weeks, the mildew and mold would build up again?

Many times through many years, I would be scrubbing or cleaning something, and my husband would come in and say, “that isn’t important right now, we need to do this instead.” As if every task I have to maintain a good house and healthy kids isn’t important. Instead of a “thanks for doing the laundry today honey” I get a “that laundry is already clean, you’re just wasting time folding it now.” Yet, if I don’t do it, no one else will.

If anyone wonders these two following questions, I’ve got the answers to them. #1 – Do moms just sit around eating bon bons and watch soap operas all day? NO (I don’t know what bon bons are, and I think I watch around 30 min. – 1 hour or TV per week). And #2 – What DO moms do all day when they stay home? Well here is a handy list that I’ve taken the effort to write out so everyone can understand clearly what we do all day.

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I just thought of a few more things I forgot to add on this list. Oh well.

Of course, I will get a lot of flak from writing this instead of all the thank yous I should be getting/expecting/will never receive. And a lot of technicalities that I don’t give two craps about. Like, how my husband will probably think more of these tasks should say ‘split’ instead of my taking full credit for them. Well, thing is, it’s split if close to 50/50 as possible, not if he wipes the countertop or fills the dishwasher once every two weeks.

I’m not going to go overboard and call myself CEO of my own house with multiple jobs descriptions like chauffeur, chef, nanny, teacher, etc. and say what I do is worth over 100k a year. I just want a damn thank you once in awhile. If I agreed to stay at home while the kids are babies/toddlers, and I try to keep things running as smoothly as possible, instead of being looked at as someone who is worthless, who does tasks around the house which are pointless in their eyes, some f*cking appreciation would be great.

My father recently went on a tangent about how women shouldn’t be allowed to curse and that only men are allowed to. So I’ve been throwing around curse words a lot more often for some reason. But at least I made it classy on the blog by using an asterisk.

Picture fragile, tiny baby fingernails. Who clips those things when they become daggers, doing so with the utmost precision like a brain surgeon to avoid chopping off the baby’s skin? Well, I have. No one else (including spouse and family members) have ever attempted to do so. I have cut my kids fingernails for almost 4 years now. Nobody else has the balls to even try to (they claim their eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, or simply just ‘don’t want to’ or “don’t like it.” I wish I could use excuses like that for everything I need to do around here. I wish I could just say “I don’t like doing that” and just never do it. It would be SO EASY if tasks were just options and not necessities.

There are so many things I do because they just need to be done. It’s not like I ENJOY scrubbing toilets. I do it because it’s dirty. Of course I don’t like doing it. Who does?

I don’t stay at home because I love doing everything that needs to be done here. I do it because I think it’s the best thing for our family for now. Finishing these tasks are a necessity. I wish others treated these tasks the same way too.

If anyone out there reading has multiple kids, you know how exhausting it is to get two kids ready in the morning, brushing teeth, hair, changing clothes, using the potty, changing diapers, feeding breakfast, packing the diaper bag, lugging them to the car, strapping them into car seats, driving to your destination with them whining/crying, staying at your destination for the allotted time before they get too tired and have meltdowns or are hungry, lug/carry them to your parked car, and drive home. And I do it every f*cking day. And my husband has never took both kids out in public by himself ever, and refuses to. Because it’s hard. If it is really that hard, I should get an award.

And why do I do it? I don’t do it because I’m a martyr. I hate the way people throw that name around so freely anytime a mother (spouse) does anything for her (their) children. I do it because the kids need to get out, to socialize, to run errands in public and learn how to behave in the outside world. I also do it to save our sanity, so we aren’t cooped up inside our house. I do it to get their energy out so hopefully they sleep better at night. There are many, many days where I just want to lay on the couch and do nothing. I hate going out in public most of the time. I do it because it’s good for them, whether I like to or not. And whenever I tell someone how much I do, and how I just want a thank you or to be appreciated, it comes out sounding whining, nagging, or ‘being a martyr’. That isn’t fair to spouses who stay at home. Calling someone a martyr is a way to try to shut someone up so you don’t have to appreciate them. To make them feel embarrassed, ashamed, or stupid in demanding appreciation. I hear so many spouses afraid of demanding appreciation because they don’t want to come off as that type of person. But people deserve respect and should receive it.

I feel like this is why so many spouses (I’m saying spouses now instead of moms) daydream of just abandoning their family, hop in their car and drive far, far away to start a new life. Of course, we don’t really do it, but we’ve all daydreamed about it. I daydream about my drive, radio blasting, hair blowing in wind (because I suddenly own a convertible), thinking to myself, once the house is a mess, and no one knows how to cook, clean, run errands, or pick up a toilet brush for years at a time, they’ll be sad that I’m gone, I’ll say bitterly, followed by a maniacal laugh.

One day I imagine one of my daughters, or my husband to ask me how I get the tub or shower to sparkle so much, and ask me what kind of cleaner I use. Then I will finally see that they recognized all the hard work I did for all those years. Recognition. Respect. Appreciation. Maybe even an award for doing all the thankless tasks around the house, made with yogurt lids, glitter and glue.

Nothing to lose.

I realized I hadn’t turned off the hose in the backyard.

As I rounded the side of the house I saw a misty spray of water over the fence, shooting straight up towards the birdhouse in our tree. A toddler laughed gleefully. Her back was turned towards me.

“STOP.” I said firmly.

She releases her grip from the trigger and turns around slowly to face me. The smile quickly fades from her face. It is replaced with a stoic, indifferent expression. An expression contemplating something. Calculating her next move, perhaps. Suddenly her face contorts into a mischievous grin as she looks down at the hose in her hands.

She repositions her hands firmly around the trigger. She sprays in shower mode on full force, and I saw the nozzle kickback a bit before she clumsily readjusted her aim on me. I receive a face full of water.

“Augggghghhheedafff!” I scream.

She let go off the trigger again, surprised by my scream. Her eyes go wide as she stares again with that indifferent expression on her face. She did not stop spraying because of my anger, but to observe the result of her actions. As if I were some experiment. I was angry, all right. But she had seen that angry face I made many times. All the times she was put in the time-out corner.

Along with my angry face, I was also drenched in water. Water dripping off the tip of my nose and rolling down the sides of my face. And that was what made her laugh maniacally. That maniacal, nearly insane sounding laugh sounded like an uncontrollable high-pitched giggle that transformed into a deep, roaring guffaw.

“Eeee-he-he-he-he-AH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAWW-HAWWWWWWWW!!!” the toddler laughed as she repositions her fingers on the nozzle and trigger again. I was maybe 25 feet away from her and knew it would be too late to take the hose from her hands in time. I prepared myself by holding my breath to prevent more water going up my nose and started walking forward. She sprayed me again, this time as  if remembering the recoil of the nozzle from before, because it only took a couple seconds to readjust her aim directly on my face. Impressed with her newfound control of the weapon, she playfully waved it down on my shirt, and back up to my face, then back down to my shirt again, making sure I was completely drenched from head to toe this time, laughing her gleefully deranged laugh the entire time.

“DON’T. YOU. DARE!” I say helplessly and with abandon, as I trudged against the force of the water towards this child who knew the difference between right and wrong, but clearly chose not to care at the moment.

And I wondered, at what point did she choose not to care? She had been put in the time-out corner for far less, and more often these days. She knew she would be punished indefinitely before she even pulled the trigger, just because she had grabbed ahold of it to water the tree. It was maybe at this time that she first had the revelation, as do many children before her in situations like these – I have nothing to lose.

Taking the hose out of her hands, we stood there facing each other in silence. She was smiling. And for some reason I laughed. She laughed in return.

I whipped the nozzle towards her and sprayed.

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